Secured Vs Unsecured Credit Card: Understanding the Difference

Secured Vs Unsecured Credit Card: Understanding the Difference

Secured Vs Unsecured Credit Card: Understanding the Difference

Secured Vs Unsecured Credit Card: Understanding the Difference

August 24, 2023

August 24, 2023

August 24, 2023

August 24, 2023

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secured vs unsecured credit card
secured vs unsecured credit card
secured vs unsecured credit card
secured vs unsecured credit card

Credit cards have become an indispensable part of our lives as they offer convenience and flexibility in managing our finances. Whether it’s for building credit, enjoying the rewards and benefits, or just for having a convenient payment option, credit cards are a must have. 

However, there are many different types of credit cards available, making it hard for people to choose the best one for them.

Two of the most talked-about types of credit cards are secured and unsecured credit cards. These distinct types of credit cards come with different features, benefits, and drawbacks. If it's going to be your first or even second credit card, learn the differences between secured and unsecured credit cards. 

What is An Unsecured Credit Card

An unsecured credit card, on the other hand, doesn't require any collateral or deposit to be made before being used. Credit card lenders will look at your credit score, credit history, employment, and other financial factors to determine whether to approve your application or not. 

Since there’s no collateral, lenders will rely on your creditworthiness and income to determine your credit limit. Unsecured credit cards also don't require you to have savings upfront. But they are harder to get approved for, and if you miss a payment or default, it could harm your credit score

How Unsecured Credit Cards Work

Unsecured credit cards offer more flexibility in terms of higher credit limits and lower interest rates (if you have a good credit score). When you go to apply for a credit card, your credit score will be ranked on a scale from excellent to poor.

If you have an excellent credit rating, you’ll most likely get easily approved for an unsecured credit card and enjoy a high credit limit. This is largely due to the fact that the lender trusts you to pay your bills on time. 

An unsecured credit card is ideal for those who have a good credit history and a strong financial background. Oftentimes when you think of a credit card, unsecured credit cards is what you’re thinking about. If you have an average credit rating, unsecured credit cards may still be available and provide some benefits such as low interest rates and access to rewards programs.

Credit cards have become an indispensable part of our lives as they offer convenience and flexibility in managing our finances. Whether it’s for building credit, enjoying the rewards and benefits, or just for having a convenient payment option, credit cards are a must have. 

However, there are many different types of credit cards available, making it hard for people to choose the best one for them.

Two of the most talked-about types of credit cards are secured and unsecured credit cards. These distinct types of credit cards come with different features, benefits, and drawbacks. If it's going to be your first or even second credit card, learn the differences between secured and unsecured credit cards. 

What is An Unsecured Credit Card

An unsecured credit card, on the other hand, doesn't require any collateral or deposit to be made before being used. Credit card lenders will look at your credit score, credit history, employment, and other financial factors to determine whether to approve your application or not. 

Since there’s no collateral, lenders will rely on your creditworthiness and income to determine your credit limit. Unsecured credit cards also don't require you to have savings upfront. But they are harder to get approved for, and if you miss a payment or default, it could harm your credit score

How Unsecured Credit Cards Work

Unsecured credit cards offer more flexibility in terms of higher credit limits and lower interest rates (if you have a good credit score). When you go to apply for a credit card, your credit score will be ranked on a scale from excellent to poor.

If you have an excellent credit rating, you’ll most likely get easily approved for an unsecured credit card and enjoy a high credit limit. This is largely due to the fact that the lender trusts you to pay your bills on time. 

An unsecured credit card is ideal for those who have a good credit history and a strong financial background. Oftentimes when you think of a credit card, unsecured credit cards is what you’re thinking about. If you have an average credit rating, unsecured credit cards may still be available and provide some benefits such as low interest rates and access to rewards programs.

What Is A Secured Credit Card?

A secured credit card is a credit card that requires a cash deposit before you can use it. This deposit serves as collateral and is used to cover any defaults or missed payments you may have. Essentially, it’s a security for the issuer in case you don’t pay off your balance. 

Secured credit cards are usually easier to get approved for because the deposit you make reduces the risk for the issuer. However, these types of cards usually come with higher interest rates, smaller credit limits and an annual fee.

If you don’t have any savings then a secured card isn’t ideal because the credit limit is usually the same amount as your deposit. These cards are better if you’re to build or improve your credit score.

How Secured Credit Cards Work

The funds you deposit will determine the limit of your credit card. Let’s say you want to have a $1,000 limit, then you would deposit $1,000. Most card issuers require a $200 minimum deposit but some can range all the way up to $2,500, depending on the card issuer.

It may be possible to upgrade your credit card from a secured to an unsecured credit card straight from your account. However, it’s not uncommon that you would have to close your secured credit card first before opening an unsecured card.

What Is A Secured Credit Card?

A secured credit card is a credit card that requires a cash deposit before you can use it. This deposit serves as collateral and is used to cover any defaults or missed payments you may have. Essentially, it’s a security for the issuer in case you don’t pay off your balance. 

Secured credit cards are usually easier to get approved for because the deposit you make reduces the risk for the issuer. However, these types of cards usually come with higher interest rates, smaller credit limits and an annual fee.

If you don’t have any savings then a secured card isn’t ideal because the credit limit is usually the same amount as your deposit. These cards are better if you’re to build or improve your credit score.

How Secured Credit Cards Work

The funds you deposit will determine the limit of your credit card. Let’s say you want to have a $1,000 limit, then you would deposit $1,000. Most card issuers require a $200 minimum deposit but some can range all the way up to $2,500, depending on the card issuer.

It may be possible to upgrade your credit card from a secured to an unsecured credit card straight from your account. However, it’s not uncommon that you would have to close your secured credit card first before opening an unsecured card.

Secured Vs Unsecured Credit Card: Main Differences 

When looking at a secured vs unsecured credit card, the main difference between the two is that a deposit is required for secured credit cards. There are other key differences between the two:

  • Approval Process: Secured credit cards are much easier to get approved because the lender isn’t taking any risks. Users are putting down money to be able to get that credit limit while unsecured credit cards require approval and can take time to get.

  • Fees: Interest rates and fees are generally higher with secured credit cards compared to unsecured credit cards. Unsecured credit cards try attracting customers by offering no annual feeds. 

  • Credit Building: While both cards can help build your credit score, unsecured credit cards offer a better opportunity to establish and improve it. If you consistently make your payments on time, you can increase your credit limit which will enhance your credit utilization ratio, a factor in determining your credit score.

  • Rewards and Benefits: Unsecured credit cards typically offer rewards and benefits like points for purchases that you make, cashback, and other things. These different perks are often tied to annual fees and excellent credit scores, so securing them can be challenging for those starting their credit journeys.

Building Your Credit With A Secured Vs Unsecured Credit Card

If you’re looking to build your credit score, the process is the same with a secured and unsecured credit card. People with either of these cards will report their activity to the three main credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Transunion). 

These bureaus take the information about your credit payment history and balances and use it to determine your history of credit usage in your name. A tip would be to pay your bill in full and on time each month in order to build credit and keep your credit score the highest possible.

Which Type Of Card Should You Choose?

The card that best fits you will depend on two things: your financial situation and credit score. If you don’t have a credit history or if you have a poor credit score, a secured credit card would be best for you. By making timely payments, you can improve your credit score and eventually qualify for an unsecured credit card. 

If you have a good credit score and can show proof of income, consider applying for an unsecured credit card. Being able to increase your credit will make it easier for you to get approved to purchase bigger things in the future.

Before choosing any credit card, make sure you do proper research and read the terms and conditions carefully. Compare different offers and explore the associated fees and charges. Also, it’s important to use the credit card wisely and pay it off in full every month. If not, you could fall into bigtime credit card debt and might need to fall back onto a debt forgiveness plan. Many people think that credit card debt is unavoidable but that’s just a common myth about money.

Secured Vs Unsecured Credit Card: Main Differences 

When looking at a secured vs unsecured credit card, the main difference between the two is that a deposit is required for secured credit cards. There are other key differences between the two:

  • Approval Process: Secured credit cards are much easier to get approved because the lender isn’t taking any risks. Users are putting down money to be able to get that credit limit while unsecured credit cards require approval and can take time to get.

  • Fees: Interest rates and fees are generally higher with secured credit cards compared to unsecured credit cards. Unsecured credit cards try attracting customers by offering no annual feeds. 

  • Credit Building: While both cards can help build your credit score, unsecured credit cards offer a better opportunity to establish and improve it. If you consistently make your payments on time, you can increase your credit limit which will enhance your credit utilization ratio, a factor in determining your credit score.

  • Rewards and Benefits: Unsecured credit cards typically offer rewards and benefits like points for purchases that you make, cashback, and other things. These different perks are often tied to annual fees and excellent credit scores, so securing them can be challenging for those starting their credit journeys.

Building Your Credit With A Secured Vs Unsecured Credit Card

If you’re looking to build your credit score, the process is the same with a secured and unsecured credit card. People with either of these cards will report their activity to the three main credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Transunion). 

These bureaus take the information about your credit payment history and balances and use it to determine your history of credit usage in your name. A tip would be to pay your bill in full and on time each month in order to build credit and keep your credit score the highest possible.

Which Type Of Card Should You Choose?

The card that best fits you will depend on two things: your financial situation and credit score. If you don’t have a credit history or if you have a poor credit score, a secured credit card would be best for you. By making timely payments, you can improve your credit score and eventually qualify for an unsecured credit card. 

If you have a good credit score and can show proof of income, consider applying for an unsecured credit card. Being able to increase your credit will make it easier for you to get approved to purchase bigger things in the future.

Before choosing any credit card, make sure you do proper research and read the terms and conditions carefully. Compare different offers and explore the associated fees and charges. Also, it’s important to use the credit card wisely and pay it off in full every month. If not, you could fall into bigtime credit card debt and might need to fall back onto a debt forgiveness plan. Many people think that credit card debt is unavoidable but that’s just a common myth about money.

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Hiatus has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Hiatus and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are Hiatus' alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.


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You are being referred to ADVR LLC’s website ("Advisor") by Hiatus, a solicitor of Advisor ("Solicitor"). The Solicitor that is directing you to this webpage will receive compensation from Advisor if you enter into an advisory relationship or into a paying subscription for advisory services. Compensation to the Solicitor may be up to $2,000. You will not be charged any fee or incur any additional costs for being referred to Advisor by the Solicitor. The Solicitor may promote and/or may advertise Advisor’s investment adviser services and may offer independent analysis and reviews of Advisor’s services. Advisor and the Solicitor are not under common ownership or otherwise related entities. Additional information about Advisor is contained in its Form ADV Part 2A available here.

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Advertiser Disclosure:


Hiatus may receive compensation when you click on links associated with this Hiatus Learn Center. Hiatus is not being compensated for any application, quotation, or the purchase of any financial products.


Hiatus has partnered with MyBankTracker for our coverage of savings account products. Hiatus and MyBankTracker may receive compensation from advertisers when you click on links associated with these savings account products. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MyBankTracker does not include all companies or all savings products. 


Hiatus has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Hiatus and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are Hiatus' alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.


Hiatus is not an insurer or insurance producer. Savvy is the licensed insurance producer supporting the Hiatus/Savvy program. All insurance information and underwriting is provided by Savvy and its licensed insurance partners.


Hiatus has partnered with AmONE for our coverage of personal loan products. Hiatus and AmONE may receive compensation when you click on links associated with personal loan products. In certain situations, compensation may impact where products appear on the site (including the order in which they appear). AmONE does not include all loan companies or all types of loan products.


You are being referred to ADVR LLC’s website ("Advisor") by Hiatus, a solicitor of Advisor ("Solicitor"). The Solicitor that is directing you to this webpage will receive compensation from Advisor if you enter into an advisory relationship or into a paying subscription for advisory services. Compensation to the Solicitor may be up to $2,000. You will not be charged any fee or incur any additional costs for being referred to Advisor by the Solicitor. The Solicitor may promote and/or may advertise Advisor’s investment adviser services and may offer independent analysis and reviews of Advisor’s services. Advisor and the Solicitor are not under common ownership or otherwise related entities. Additional information about Advisor is contained in its Form ADV Part 2A available here.

© 2024 Hiatus, Inc. All rights reserved

Advertiser Disclosure:


Hiatus may receive compensation when you click on links associated with this Hiatus Learn Center. Hiatus is not being compensated for any application, quotation, or the purchase of any financial products.


Hiatus has partnered with MyBankTracker for our coverage of savings account products. Hiatus and MyBankTracker may receive compensation from advertisers when you click on links associated with these savings account products. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MyBankTracker does not include all companies or all savings products. 


Hiatus has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Hiatus and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are Hiatus' alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.


Hiatus is not an insurer or insurance producer. Savvy is the licensed insurance producer supporting the Hiatus/Savvy program. All insurance information and underwriting is provided by Savvy and its licensed insurance partners.


Hiatus has partnered with AmONE for our coverage of personal loan products. Hiatus and AmONE may receive compensation when you click on links associated with personal loan products. In certain situations, compensation may impact where products appear on the site (including the order in which they appear). AmONE does not include all loan companies or all types of loan products.


You are being referred to ADVR LLC’s website ("Advisor") by Hiatus, a solicitor of Advisor ("Solicitor"). The Solicitor that is directing you to this webpage will receive compensation from Advisor if you enter into an advisory relationship or into a paying subscription for advisory services. Compensation to the Solicitor may be up to $2,000. You will not be charged any fee or incur any additional costs for being referred to Advisor by the Solicitor. The Solicitor may promote and/or may advertise Advisor’s investment adviser services and may offer independent analysis and reviews of Advisor’s services. Advisor and the Solicitor are not under common ownership or otherwise related entities. Additional information about Advisor is contained in its Form ADV Part 2A available here.

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Advertiser Disclosure:


Hiatus may receive compensation when you click on links associated with this Hiatus Learn Center. Hiatus is not being compensated for any application, quotation, or the purchase of any financial products.


Hiatus has partnered with MyBankTracker for our coverage of savings account products. Hiatus and MyBankTracker may receive compensation from advertisers when you click on links associated with these savings account products. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MyBankTracker does not include all companies or all savings products. 


Hiatus has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Hiatus and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are Hiatus' alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.


Hiatus is not an insurer or insurance producer. Savvy is the licensed insurance producer supporting the Hiatus/Savvy program. All insurance information and underwriting is provided by Savvy and its licensed insurance partners.


Hiatus has partnered with AmONE for our coverage of personal loan products. Hiatus and AmONE may receive compensation when you click on links associated with personal loan products. In certain situations, compensation may impact where products appear on the site (including the order in which they appear). AmONE does not include all loan companies or all types of loan products.


You are being referred to ADVR LLC’s website ("Advisor") by Hiatus, a solicitor of Advisor ("Solicitor"). The Solicitor that is directing you to this webpage will receive compensation from Advisor if you enter into an advisory relationship or into a paying subscription for advisory services. Compensation to the Solicitor may be up to $2,000. You will not be charged any fee or incur any additional costs for being referred to Advisor by the Solicitor. The Solicitor may promote and/or may advertise Advisor’s investment adviser services and may offer independent analysis and reviews of Advisor’s services. Advisor and the Solicitor are not under common ownership or otherwise related entities. Additional information about Advisor is contained in its Form ADV Part 2A available here.

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